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What we could learn from the Rush Limbaugh spat

13 Mar

If you haven’t been following the heated exchange between the Democratic Party, the Republican leadership and Conservative talk-show host Rush Limbaugh, it’s worth going back and looking at the he-said, he un-said, he didn’t mean to say back and forth.

It’s like an ongoing tutorial (check this, this and this) on why it’s important to pay attention to the medium not just the person you are engaging before foot is inserted in mouth. Here is an example:

Loose Lips: “Rush Limbaugh is an entertainer. Rush Limbaugh’s whole thing is entertainment … “Yes, it is incendiary. Yes, it is ugly.”

Who Said That: Michael Steele, chairman of the Republican National Committee

Oops, I take that back: “Words that I said weren’t what I was thinking. It was one of those things where I thinking I was saying one thing, and it came out differently.”

What??? Steele was attempting to take back his sharp criticism on Limbaugh

You cannot take anything back. Any media relations rookie will tell you that. In fact any SEO rookie will tell you that also. Just Google the words “Rush Limbaugh is an entertainer” or just “Limbaugh Steele” and see. So what can we learn from this –besides never trying to engage nuclear talk-show hosts?

  • Understand that radio is still a powerful medium. The host always, always has the last word. If you don’t believe me, tune in and see how cleverly any show host cuts off a caller with a few simple words:  “I’m coming up on a hard break.” Click!
  • If you have to challenge someone, make sure you have full access to the media platform, or be pretty damn sure you have a stronger one beneath you. I remember Sun CEO/blogger Jonathan Schwartz once said “while a journalist is writing about my blog, I am blogging about his journalism.”
  • Stick to some talking points if you tend to improvise, or your mouth tends to go extremely left field without informing your brain first. Here’s Steele, again.

PS: I have nothing against Steele or Limbaugh –the above may contain “words that I said weren’t what I was thinking…”

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